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[00:00:11]

GOOD AFTERNOON, EVERYONE.

[Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission Public Forum #3 ]

CAN YOU HEAR ME? AWESOME.

ALL RIGHT.

UM, WE'RE GOING TO GET STARTED THIS AFTERNOON.

WELCOME TO THE PUBLIC FORUM FOR THE INDEPENDENT CITIZENS REDISTRICTING COMMISSION.

I'M THE CHAIR, CHRISTINA POINTLESS.

AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE VICE-CHAIR LUIS GONZALEZ OVER HERE TO MY LEFT.

UM, START US OFF WITH A PRESENTATION THIS AFTERNOON ABOUT OUR REDISTRICTING DECISIONS.

YOU'LL, WE'LL SEE A COMPARISON FROM THE FIRST, UH, THE 2013 MAP, WHICH IS CURRENTLY IN PLACE TO OUR PROPOSED MAP.

AND WE'LL EXPLAIN AND TALK THROUGH, UM, THE RATIONALE BEHIND THESE DECISIONS.

AND WE ALSO WANT TO SHARE A LITTLE BIT WITH YOU TODAY ABOUT, UM, HOW THIS COMMISSION FORMED AND WHO WE ARE.

SO VICE CHAIR GETS ELLIS.

THANK YOU, MADAM CHAIR.

WELCOME EVERYONE.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY, OFFERING UP A PRECIOUS SATURDAY TO DISCUSS THE IMPORTANCE OF REDISTRICTING AND ITS IMPACT ON THE CITY OF AUSTIN AFTER 12 PUBLIC FORUMS, UH, MONTHS OF WORK, UH, WE NOW HAVE AN APPROVED, PRELIMINARY MAP OF WHAT THE NEW CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT, UH, DISTRICTS COULD LOOK LIKE IN 2022.

PLEASE REMEMBER THOUGH, THAT THIS IS A PRELIMINARY DRAFT AND WE ARE HERE TODAY FOR YOUR FEEDBACK AS WE CONTINUE TO WORK ON WHAT WILL BE A FINAL MAP BEFORE OUR DEADLINE OF NOVEMBER 1ST, 2021.

UH, JUST SOME HOUSEKEEPING, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO TESTIFY TODAY, UM, PLEASE SIGN UP WITH OUR ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER, CHRISTINE GRANADOS AT THE REGISTRATION DESK.

WHEN YOU WALKED IN, YOU CAN ALSO PICK UP COPIES IF YOU DON'T HAVE THEM ALREADY OF OUR PROPOSED DISTRICT MAP, AND YOU COULD LEAVE WRITTEN COMMENTS ON THESE MAPS USING THE PAPER AND PEN THAT WERE PROVIDED.

LASTLY, THANK YOU TO THE GEORGE MODALIST DOVE SPRINGS RECREATION CENTER FOR WELCOMING ME AND WELCOMING US INTO THEIR SPACE TODAY.

WE APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT AND DO WANT TO REMIND EVERYONE THAT THE CITY OF AUSTIN IS ADHERING OR IS IN STAGE FOUR, A RISK COVID GUIDELINES.

THIS WAS STAGE FIVE.

IT WAS, UH, AT THAT LEVEL YESTERDAY.

UH, WE ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO PLEASE WEAR YOUR FACE COVERINGS AT ALL TIMES, UNLESS YOU'RE GOING TO SPEAK AT THE MICROPHONE TODAY.

UM, DURING THE PUBLIC TESTIMONY PORTION, WE ASK THAT YOU PLEASE BE PATIENT WITH US.

WE WILL HAND SANITIZER.

WE WILL SANITIZE THE MICROPHONE AFTER EACH SPEAKER.

I WANT TO BRIEFLY TAKE YOU THROUGH OUR AGENDA FOR TODAY.

UM, THE GOAL IS TO WRAP UP BY THREE O'CLOCK AND I'M, I THINK WE CAN DO THAT.

UH, WE WILL GO OVER HOW TO STAY INFORMED AND HOW TO SUBMIT MAP FEEDBACK TO THE ICRC.

AS WE PUSH FORWARD TO THAT NOVEMBER 1ST DEADLINE, WE WILL DISCUSS WHY AN INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING PROCESS IS SO IMPORTANT THAT THAT PROCESS ITSELF, AND THE CITY CHARTER THAT GUIDES OUR WORK.

WE WILL SHOW YOU THAT PRELIMINARY MAP.

UM, YOU ALSO HAVE A COPY IN FRONT OF YOU AND THE DATA AND THE REASONING USED IN ITS CREATION.

WE WOULD THEN MOVE INTO THE TEST, UH, PUBLIC TESTIMONY PORTION OF THE FORUM.

EACH SPEAKER WILL HAVE FI UH, THREE MINUTES.

AND LASTLY, WE'LL JUST SHARE A FEW EVENT REMINDERS, UH, BEFORE YOU DEPART THE REC CENTER TODAY ON THIS SLIDE, YOU'LL SEE SOME OF THE LINKS TO OUR WEB PRESENCE, OUR FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS, WAYS THAT YOU CAN STAY CONNECTED WITH OUR WORK LONG AFTER YOU LEAVE TODAY'S FORUM.

I WANT TO TAKE THIS TIME TO ALSO THANK OUR LOCAL MEDIA PARTNERS, SUCH AS THE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER.

THE AUSTIN MONITOR, THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN, K U T, AND THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE FOR THEIR RECENT ICRC COVERAGE AND SUPPORT AND PROMOTE PROMOTING OUR EVENTS LIKE THE ONE TODAY, WHILE THE 14 VOLUNTEER COMMISSIONERS OF THE ICRC MIGHT BE CHARGED WITH THE ACTUAL WORK OF REJOIN.

UH, THE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT MAP, THE FINAL PRODUCT WILL BE OURS AS A CITY, AS A COMMUNITY.

WE CAN NOT DO THIS WORK WITHOUT PUBLIC INPUT.

IN ADDITION TO THE PUBLIC TESTIMONY THAT YOU MAY GIVE AT THE MICROPHONE TODAY, UM, YOU CAN ALSO SUBMIT FEEDBACK THROUGH AN ONLINE SURVEY@SPEAKUPAUSTIN.ORG VIA EMAIL TO ICRC DOT COMMISSIONERS AT AUSTIN, TEXAS.GOV OR VIA VIRTUAL FORUM.

LIKE THE ONE SCHEDULED FOR THIS COMING TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH, YOU CAN EVEN SAID, GOOD OLD FASHIONED MAIL.

WE HAVE A PO BOX.

SO PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR FEEDBACK.

HOWEVER YOU FEEL THE MOST COMFORTABLE, JUST GOING TO QUICKLY INTRODUCE, UH, SOME OF THE COMMISSIONERS THAT ARE HERE TODAY.

I WON'T GO ALL THEIR NAMES ARE HERE, BUT I'LL JUST INTRODUCE THOSE THAT ARE HERE TODAY.

UM, FOR DISTRICT ONE, WE HAVE COMMISSIONER SELENA, YE SHE'S AT THE VERY FAR RIGHT FOR DISTRICT SIX, WE HAVE COMMISSIONER JEAN SNOW, EUGENE SCHNEIDER DISTRICT SEVEN IS REPRESENTED BY THE CHAIR, CHRISTINA .

WE HAVE A DISTRICT EIGHT REPRESENTATIVE AND COMMISSIONER JOSHUA BLANK, AND MY NAME IS LUIS GONZALEZ.

I AM THE VICE CHAIR AND I REPRESENT DISTRICT 10.

SO THE REDISTRICTING PROCESS, HOW DID WE GET TO TODAY

[00:05:02]

IN 2012, AUSTIN VOTERS SET A STANDARD FOR AN OPEN AND TRANSPARENT MAPPING OF OUR DISTRICTS.

IN 2013, AUSTIN BECAME THE FIRST CITY IN THE COUNTRY TO HAVE CITY DISTRICTS DRAWN THROUGH THE VOLUNTEERISM OF A COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT GROUP OF REGULAR RESIDENTS.

THESE MILESTONES CHANGED THE CITY'S ELECTION SYSTEM AND PROVIDED A POTENTIAL MODEL FOR CITIES NATIONWIDE.

THE 2021 COMMISSIONERS WANT TO STRENGTHEN THAT MODEL.

BUT WHY DOES HAVING AN INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING PROCESS MATTER? BECAUSE WE BELIEVE THAT IT'S THE BACKBONE OF DEMOCRACY FOR, FOR EQUAL REPRESENTATION AT THE CORE OF REDISTRICTING IS EQUAL AND FAIR REPRESENTATION, INCLUDING FOR HISTORICALLY UNDERREPRESENTED COMMUNITIES PROTECTED UNDER FEDERAL LAW.

EACH DISTRICT SHOULD HAVE CLOSE TO THE SAME NUMBER OF RESIDENTS AS POSSIBLE.

THIS IS THE ICRC IS NUMBER ONE PRIORITY.

IT ALSO HELPS WITH INDEPENDENT INPUT.

AN INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING PROCESS ALLOWS RESIDENTS TO HAVE A VOICE IN HOW THEIR COMMUNITY IS SHAPED WITHOUT THE INFLUENCE OF POLITICAL OFFICIALS.

IN 2015, THE SUPREME COURT AFFIRMED THAT VOTERS DO HAVE THE RIGHT TO ESTABLISH AN INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMISSION AT A TIME WHEN POLITICIANS ELICIT DISTRESSED CITIZEN REDISTRICTING CAN PROVIDE A TRANSPARENT AND TRANSFORMATIVE ALTERNATIVE TO POLITICS.

AS USUAL, THIS MOVEMENT INVOLVES THE INVOLVE, INCLUDE INVITES THE INVOLVEMENT, EXCUSE ME, OF ANY AND ALL OF ITS RESIDENTS.

OUR WORK CANNOT HAPPEN WITHOUT PUBLIC FORUMS LIKE THIS ONE.

AND WITHOUT ALL OF YOU IN ATTENDANCE TODAY, SO APOLOGIZE FOR BEING A BROKEN RECORD, BUT THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

IT ALSO HELPS THE ICRC FOCUS ON RAPID CHANGES TO OUR CITY.

THIS INDEPENDENT PROCESS ALLOWS US TO FOCUS ON REDRAWING DISTRICT BOUNDARIES BASED ON POPULATION GROWTH AND MOVEMENT, RATHER THAN BEING CONCERNED WITHOUT THE, UH, CONCERNED ABOUT THE OUTCOME OF ELECTIONS.

SO WE MENTIONED WHY AN INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING PROCESS IS CRITICAL, BUT LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT ACTUAL PROCESS FOR A LITTLE BIT, FOLLOWING, UH, THE RECEIPT OF 300 APPLICATIONS, THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE 60 MOST QUALIFIED APPLICANTS, THE RANDOM SELECTION OF THE FIRST EIGHT COMMISSIONERS AND THE INTERNAL SELECTION OF SIX ADDITIONAL COMMISSIONERS.

THE 14 INDIVIDUALS ON THE ICRC HAVE HELD 15 PUBLIC FORUMS, UH, IN JULY, AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER, UH, USING THE 13 20 13 MAP, UM, TO GATHER FEEDBACK ON THE INTEGRITY OF LOCAL NEIGHBORHOODS.

THIS SERVED AS OUR FOUNDATION FOR THIS PRELIMINARY MAP THAT WE'RE GOING TO SHOW YOU TODAY.

OVER THAT TIME, WE HOSTED OVER 105 ATTENDEES LISTENED TO OVER 50 SPEAKERS COLLECTED, 50 MAPS, 87 EMAILS, AND TWO VOICEMAILS FROM THE PUBLIC.

WE THEN TASKED OUR MAPPING SPECIALISTS, MR. GEORGE KORBEL, TO CREATE A FIRST ROUGH DRAFT OF A NEW MAP THAT PRIORITIZED THE CREATION OF DISTRICTS WITH EQUAL A REASONABLY EQUAL POPULATION USING THE DELAYED 2020 CENSUS DATA, THE ICRC THEN VOTED AND APPROVED THE PLAN PRELIMINARY MAP THAT YOU'LL SEE IN ADDITION TO POPULATION ADJUSTMENTS, THIS VERSION INCORPORATED CONSIDERATIONS OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT AND FEEDBACK PERTAINING TO THE INTEGRITY OF NEIGHBORHOODS.

WE HEARD AT THOSE AFTER MENTIONED PUBLIC FORUMS AND VIA EMAIL COMMUNICATION THAT BRINGS US TO TODAY, THE ICRC WILL TAKE PUBLIC COMMENT FOR 14 DAYS THROUGH FIVE MORE PUBLIC FORUMS. THIS IS THE THIRD OF THOSE FIVE.

THAT ADDITIONAL FEEDBACK WILL BE REVIEWED AND CONSIDERED FOR POSSIBLE INCORPORATION INTO A FINAL MAP.

AND ABOUT THAT FINAL MAP PROCESS, THAT PROCESS WILL BEGIN AROUND OCTOBER 6TH.

WHEN WE WORK TO DRAFT AND APPROVE THE FIRST VERSION OF A FINAL MAP, WE THEN TAKE THAT VERSION OF THE FINAL MAP BACK OUT FOR MORE PUBLIC INPUT AT THREE PUBLIC FORUMS TO BE SCHEDULED LIKELY THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 18TH, THE ICRC WILL THEN ADOPT A FINAL MAP BY THE DEADLINE SET IN THE CITY CHARTER NO LATER THAN NOVEMBER 1ST, 2021.

AND WE ARE CONFIDENT THAT WE CAN MEET THAT DEADLINE.

LASTLY, THE ICRC WILL ALSO RELEASE A FINAL REPORT FOLLOWING THE ADOPTION OF A FINAL MAP.

OUR SUBCOMMITTEE HAS ALSO BEGUN, HAS ALREADY BEGUN WORK ON THIS IMPORTANT AND INFORMATIVE DOCUMENT.

HOW DO WE DRAW THESE MAPS THAT WE KEEP TALKING ABOUT MAPS, MAPS, MAPS AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE PROCESS IS THE CITY CHARTER ADHERENCE TO SECTION THREE E THE COMMISSIONERS MUST DRAW EACH DISTRICT BOUNDARY USING THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA THAT YOU SEE ON THE SCREEN.

THIS IS AN ORDER OF PRIORITY FROM TOP TO BOTTOM.

MOST OF OUR GUIDELINES ARE PRETTY CUT AND DRY.

NUMBER ONE, EACH DISTRICT SHALL HAVE REASONABLY EQUAL POPULATION WITH OTHER DISTRICTS.

FOR EXAMPLE, DISTRICT SIX, UH, ACCORDING TO THE 2020 CENSUS DATA WAS THE MOST OVERPOPULATED DISTRICT

[00:10:01]

AND COULD ONLY, UH, SHIFT EXCESS POPULATION TO ITS NEIGHBORING DISTRICTS, DISTRICT 10 AND DISTRICT SEVEN PRIORITY.

NUMBER TWO DISTRICT SHALL COMPLY WITH THE FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS ACT.

THIS IMPACTED THE DRAWING OF DISTRICTS, 1, 2, 3, AND FOUR ON THE EAST SIDE OF AUSTIN, WHICH ARE THE CITY'S PROTECTED OPPORTUNITY.

DISTRICTS PRIORITY.

NUMBER THREE DISTRICT SHALL BE GEOGRAPHICALLY.

CONTIGUOUS DISTRICTS CAN SOMETIMES TAKE AN ODD SHAPE.

WHY CAN'T THEY JUST BE STRAIGHT LINES AND EQUAL SIZE AND AN EQUAL SHAPE DISTRICTS MUST BE TOUCHING WITH NO GAPS, CITY PLANNING, BUSINESS, AND NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT DO NOT HAPPEN IN NEAT AND TIDY SHAPES.

AND BECAUSE PEOPLE LIVE IN DIFFERENT DENSITIES AND DISTRICTS MUST BE RELATIVELY EQUAL IN POPULATION.

THIS CAN CREATE STRANGE SHAPES.

IT DOES NOT MEAN THOUGH THAT THE DISTRICT IS GERRYMANDERED TO SAY THAT A DISTRICT IS GERRYMANDERED WOULD BE TO IMPLY THAT IT WAS DESIGNED AND DRAWN THAT WAY TO FORM A POLITICAL ADVANTAGE FOR A CANDIDATE OR A POLITICAL PARTY, WHICH IS NOT THE CASE WITH THE ICRC, AN APOLITICAL REDISTRICTING BODY, NUMBER FOUR, THE GEOGRAPHIC INTEGRITY OF LOCAL NEIGHBORHOODS OR LOCAL COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST SHALL BE RESPECTED IN A MANNER THAT MINIMIZES THEIR DIVISION TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE WITHOUT VIOLATING THE REQUIREMENTS OF ANY OF THE PROCEEDING SUBSECTIONS.

THIS IS WHY YOU ARE HERE TODAY.

THE FEEDBACK THAT WE RECEIVED FROM YOUR PUBLIC TESTIMONY GENERALLY FALLS INTO THIS CATEGORY.

NUMBER FOUR, PRIORITY.

NUMBER FIVE DISTRICT BOUNDARIES SHALL BE DRAWN TO ENCOURAGE GEOGRAPHICAL COMPACTNESS DISTRICTS SHOULD NOT BE DRAWN IN A WAY THAT MAKES THEM SPRAWL.

THEY SHOULDN'T BECOME COMPACT, MEANING THAT RESIDENTS OF THE SAME DISTRICT SHOULD LIVE AS NEAR TO ONE ANOTHER AS PRACTICABLE, PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

THE NEXT SLIDE, JUST TO THE LAST TWO PRIORITY.

NUMBER SIX DISTRICT BOUNDARIES SHALL BE DRAWN USING THE, UH, THE BOUNDARIES OF EXISTING ELECTION.

UH, YOU CAN SEE THE SPLIT OF SOME BTDS THAT IS VOTING TABULATION DISTRICTS IN SOME NEIGHBORHOODS IN THE 2013 MAP.

FOR EXAMPLE, ABOUT CONEYS WOODS, WE CAN ALSO DEVIATE FROM THIS ONE NECESSARY, SUCH AS THE CASE OF PRIORITY.

NUMBER TWO, FOR THE POPULATION OF AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISTRICT, AND FINALLY, UH, PRIORITY NUMBER SEVEN DISTRICTS, DISTRICT BOUNDARIES SHALL BE DRAWN USING GEOGRAPHICALLY IDENTIFIABLE BOUNDARIES.

AUSTIN'S NATURAL BOUNDARIES, SUCH AS LAKE TRAVIS OR SHOW CREEK, AND THE MANY PARTS OF THE GREEN BELT MAKE GREAT CITY COUNCIL BOUNDARIES AS WELL.

MAJOR ARTERIES AND CORRIDORS ARE ALSO IMPORTANT MARKERS OF COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST THOUGH.

COMMUNITIES CAN ALSO CROSS MAN-MADE FEATURES GREEN SPACES, AS WELL AS HISTORICAL AREAS AND BUILDINGS WERE CONSIDERED IN OUR PROCESS.

I'M GOING TO PASS IT OVER TO .

SHE'S GOING TO SHARE THE PRELIMINARY MAP AND EXPLAIN A LITTLE BIT OF THE DATA THAT WAS USED.

MADAM CHAIR.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

ALL RIGHT.

WE'VE GOT A LOT OF NUMBERS ON THIS SLIDE.

UM, THIS IS THE POPULATION GROWTH BY DISTRICT FROM 2010 TO 2020 BASED ON THE CENSUS DATA.

UH, AND THEN ON THE FAR, RIGHT, YOU'LL SEE THE ADJUSTED POPULATION PER PROPOSED NEW DISTRICT.

UM, AND AS VICE-CHAIR GONZALEZ SAID, ONE OF OUR GUIDELINES IS TO HAVE EQUAL POPULATION IN EACH OF THE 10 DISTRICTS OR AS CLOSE TO THAT AS POSSIBLE.

UM, 0% DEVIATION WOULD MEAN THE COMPLETELY EQUAL POPULATION.

UM, AND SO IN 2010, THE POPULATION OF AUSTIN STOOD AT 790,390.

SO AT THAT TIME, THE IDEAL POPULATION PER CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT WAS 79,000.

THE LARGEST DISTRICT LAST TIME WAS DISTRICT SIX AND THE SMALLEST DISTRICT WAS DISTRICT ONE WITHIN THOSE 2013 BOUNDARIES BY 2020 DISTRICT SIX HAD GONE FROM BEING JUST 3.7, 2% ABOVE DEVIATION TO 12.7, 6% ABOVE DEVIATION.

MEANWHILE, DISTRICT FOREST POPULATION BARELY INCREASED OVER 10 YEARS, UH, BY JUST ABOUT 1300 RESIDENTS.

UH, TODAY THE IDEAL POPULATION PER EACH OF THE 10 DISTRICTS SITS AT 96,185 RESIDENTS BASED ON THE CURRENT CITY POPULATION OF 90 961,855.

AND AGAIN, THAT IS A NUMBER PROVIDED BY THE 2020 CENSUS DATA.

AND THAT'S ABOUT A 21% INCREASE IN OUR CITY'S POPULATION SINCE 2010, OR ABOUT 172,000 PEOPLE.

THESE DISTRICTS ARE ALL WITHIN THE LEGAL DEVIATION RANGE AND YOU'LL NOTICE THE LARGEST POPULATION IN THE PRELIMINARY MAP.

AGAIN, THOSE ARE THE NUMBERS ON THE RIGHT, UM, HAS DISTRICT EIGHT AT 101,397, WHICH IS 5.4, 2% ABOVE DEVIATION WHILE THE SMALLEST POPULATION IN OUR PRELIMINARY MAP IS DISTRICT THREE CURRENTLY WITH 92924%.

AND THAT'S AT A MINUS 3.3, 1% DEVIATION.

IF YOU TAKE THESE TWO ENDS OF THE POPULATION

[00:15:01]

DISTRIBUTION, YOU GET A TOTAL OF 8.8, 1% DEVIATION, WHICH SITS UNDER A 10% DEVIATION LIMIT.

NEXT SLIDE, RIGHT? WE CONSIDERED A LOT OF OTHER THINGS AS WELL.

UM, POPULATION IS JUST THE FIRST PRIORITY OF SEVEN.

SO IN ADDITION TO POPULATION SHIFTS, COMMISSIONERS REQUESTED EXPERT TESTIMONY ON AUSTIN'S HISTORY, INCLUDING ITS RACIAL HISTORY, POLICIES, TRANSPORTATION, LAND ATTRIBUTES, AND DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS.

WE HAVE ALSO DONE THIS JUST ON AN ONGOING BASIS.

UM, THE ICRC HEARD FROM THE COUNTY ABOUT VOTING PRECINCTS AND PLANS TO WORK WITH THE COUNTY ON REDISTRICTING AS NECESSARY.

WE ALSO HEARD FROM AUSTIN ISD, UM, AS A GUEST TO ONE OF OUR MEETINGS, UM, EARLIER IN THIS PROCESS.

AND ADDITIONALLY, WE'VE GAINED A LOT OF FOUNDATIONAL KNOWLEDGE SUCH AS LEARNING ABOUT THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT AND OTHER APPLICABLE LAWS AND STATUTES.

SO THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT SECTION TWO IS WHERE DEMOGRAPHIC DATA BECOMES RELEVANT IN SECTION TWO, PROHIBITS VOTING PRACTICES AND REDISTRICTING PRACTICES THAT DISCRIMINATE ON THE BASIS OF RACE, COLOR, OR A MEMBERSHIP IN A LANGUAGE MINORITY GROUP, A MINORITY OPPORTUNITY DISTRICTS THAT ARE DRAWN TO HAVE A MAJORITY PEOPLE OF COLOR AS THE VOTING AGE POPULATION, OUR PROJECTS ARE PROTECTED, EXCUSE ME, SO THAT THEY MAY HAVE A CHANCE TO ELECT A CANDIDATE OF THEIR CHOICE.

UH, AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN REDISTRICTING CONSIDERATION IS PUBLIC INPUT.

AND SO WE'RE JUST EXCITED TO SEE YOU ALL HERE TODAY.

THE ICRC PRODUCED A DOCUMENT THAT LISTED ALL THE PUBLIC INPUT THAT WE'VE GOTTEN IN ALL OF ITS FORMS BY DISTRICT, SO THAT WE, THE COMMISSIONERS COULD HAVE A CLEAR PICTURE OF WHAT WAS BEING ASKED OF US IN THIS PROCESS.

AND THIS WAY COMMISSIONERS COULD UNDERSTAND AND ADVOCATE FOR THE ASKS COMING FROM COMMUNITY MEMBERS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE DISTRICTS.

SINCE WE HAVE ONE TO TWO COMMISSIONERS FROM EVERY CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT ON THIS COMMISSION OF 14, ADDITIONALLY, THE COMMISSION CHOSE TO START WITH THE 2013 MAP THAT WAS FORMED ALONG WITH THE COUNCIL STRUCTURE CHANGE TO THE TEN ONE SYSTEM.

THESE DISTRICTS HAVE PROVIDED A STRONG FOUNDATION FOR THE 2021 ICRC HAVING PROVIDED THEIR RATIONALE IN THE 2013 ICRC FINAL REPORT.

THAT WAS A HUGE PART OF OUR FOUNDATION AND OUR JUSTIFICATION FOR WHAT WE'RE DOING WITH THIS MAP.

UM, THE ORIGINAL MAP WAS BASED ON THE SAME STANDARDS THAT WE'RE BASING OUR MAPS ON.

AND SO WHEN WE LOOKED AT THAT 2013 FINAL REPORT, THE COMMISSION FOUND THAT THE LOCATIONS OF FACILITIES MAJOR LANDMARKS AND NEIGHBORHOODS HAVE BEEN PRETTY STABLE, EVEN IF THE RACIAL DEMOGRAPHICS HAVE CHANGED AND THE CITY HAS GROWN OVER THESE LAST 10 YEARS.

SO GIVEN THAT AND THE VOTING PRECINCTS, MANY OF THESE BOUNDARY LINES ARE STABLE.

ALL RIGHT, HERE'S THE BIG REVEAL, ALTHOUGH IT IS ALL THE WAY AROUND THIS GYM AND AFTER THIS PRESENTATION, I WANT TO GIVE YOU ALL SOME TIME TO WALK AROUND AND REALLY GET A CLOSE LOOK AT THESE MAPS.

BUT HERE IT IS THE 2013 COMPARED WITH THE 2021 PROPOSED MAP, I'LL POINT OUT A FEW KEY POINTS ABOUT THIS PRELIMINARY MAP AS IT COMPARES TO THE EXISTING MAP OF THE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICTS.

AND JUST AS A REMINDER, IF YOU JUST GOT IN, WE DO HAVE MAP PRINT OUTS OF EACH PROPOSED DISTRICT THAT YOU CAN TESTIFY ON TODAY, OR YOU CAN EMAIL US YOUR TESTIMONY ABOUT THOSE CHANGES AT A LATER DATE, IF YOU WISH.

SO, AS WE SAW EARLIER, THE DATA SUPPORTS A CHANGE TO THE SHAPE OF DISTRICTS THAT HAVE GROWN SIGNIFICANTLY, AS WELL AS THEIR ADJACENT DISTRICTS DISTRICT SIX, 10, AND SEVEN WERE OF SIGNIFICANT FOCUS IN MAPPING DISCUSSIONS, CONVERSELY, IN THE CASE OF A DISTRICT THAT HAS NOT GROWN, UM, LIKE DISTRICT FOUR, IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN A RELATIVELY EQUAL POPULATION ACROSS ALL DISTRICTS, THIS ONE NECESSITATED TAKING POPULATION FROM ITS SURROUNDING DISTRICTS LIKE SEVEN AND ONE, SOME DISTRICTS SUCH AS DISTRICT TWO AND DISTRICT FIVE REQUIRED MINIMAL CHANGE BECAUSE OF THE POPULATION GROWTH WITHIN ITS CURRENT BOUNDARIES MATCH THE POPULATION SIZE OF DISTRICT BASED ON THE CITY'S 2020 POPULATION.

THESE MAPS WERE DRAWN, STARTING WITH CONSIDERATION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF PROTECTED MINORITY OPPORTUNITY DISTRICTS.

ON THE EAST SIDE THAT'S DISTRICTS, 1, 2, 3, AND FOUR, RATHER THAN STARTING FROM ANOTHER ORIENTATION OF THE CITY.

THIS WAS TO ENSURE THE LARGEST POSSIBLE CONCENTRATION OF BLACK AND HISPANIC POPULATIONS WITHIN THESE BOUNDARIES, SO THAT THEY HAVE THE GREATEST CHANCE OF ELECTING A CANDIDATE OF THEIR CHOICE.

THIS IS ALL SUPPORTED BY THE DATA.

THE COUNTY WILL NOT RELEASE THEIR NEW VTS UNTIL LATER THIS YEAR.

AND SO FOR THE TIME BEING THE ICRC HAS USED THE EXISTING SHAPE OF THE VTD TO GUIDE OUR CHANGES.

THE COUNTY HAS INFORMED US THAT SOME OF THESE WILL BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

UM, AND SO THIS IS ALSO BASED ON, ON EQUAL POPULATION.

AND SO WE MIGHT MINORLY ADJUST

[00:20:01]

THE LINES AFTER NOVEMBER 1ST, WHICH IS THE DEADLINE FOR THIS MAP, UM, SO THAT WE CAN ACCOMMODATE THOSE CHANGES.

OVERALL MUCH OF THE MAP HAS STAYED THE SAME FIRST CHANGES THAT YOU SEE REFLECT A POPULATION CHANGE AND THE NEED TO DRAW BOUNDARIES THAT CONTAIN EQUAL POPULATION WITHIN THEM.

AND THIS WAS BEST ACCOMPLISHED USING THE VTS OR THE VOTING PRECINCTS.

SECOND DISTRICTS WITH HIGH CONCENTRATIONS OF PEOPLE OF COLOR WERE PRIORITIZED AS REQUIRED BY THE FEDERAL VRA.

AND FINALLY THE HEART OF THE COMMISSION'S DISCUSSION LEADING UP TO THE APPROVAL OF THE PRELIMINARY MAPS BEFORE YOU HAD TO DO WITH COMMUNITY INPUT, WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU MAY SEE A CHANGE THAT CREATES AN UNNECESSARY SPLIT IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, OR MAINTAINS A SPLIT FROM THE LAST MAP THAT DID NOT WANT TO SEE.

AND IF THIS IS THE CASE, PLEASE SHARE THAT INFORMATION WITH US SO THAT WE HAVE ALL OF YOUR TESTIMONY ON RECORD FOR CONSIDERATION IN THE FINAL MAP.

ALL RIGHT.

Y'ALL WE HAVE REACHED THE POINT OF PUBLIC TESTIMONY, BUT BEFORE WE DO THAT, BEFORE WE OPEN THE MIC, WE'RE GOING TO JUST PAUSE FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES TO GIVE YOU ALL TIME TO WALK AROUND THIS GYM AND LOOK AT THE MAPS.

UM, AND THEN I WILL COME BACK ON THE MICROPHONE WHEN TIME IS UP AND WE'LL COME BACK TOGETHER.

AND, UM, I THINK IT'S PATRICIA FRAGA CORRECT.

WHO WILL BE LEADING THE PUBLIC TESTIMONY PORTION TODAY.

OKAY, WONDERFUL.

I'LL SEE YOU ALL IN 10 MINUTES.

OKAY.

SO LET'S GO TO THE NEXT SLIDE WITH THE INSTRUCTIONS LISTED.

AND I'LL JUST TALK THROUGH THAT BEFORE WE GET STARTED.

SO ALL INDIVIDUALS WISHING TO MAKE COMMENTS, JUST MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE SIGNED IN AT THE FRONT DESK HERE.

EACH SPEAKER HAS THREE MINUTES UNLESS ADDITIONAL TIME IS GRANTED BY THE CHAIR.

UH, THE COMMISSION IS INTERESTED IN GATHERING CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK ON CITIZENS' VIEWS OF THE PRELIMINARY MAP AND HE SUGGESTED ADJUSTMENTS YOU HAVE.

UM, AND THEN ALSO JUST ANY GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT THE OVERALL REDISTRICTING PLAN AND PROCESS.

UM, SPEAKERS CAN ASK QUESTIONS DURING THE TESTIMONY TO SEEK INFORMATION AND FOR CLARITY RATHER THAN TO SEEK DEBATE, THE CHAIR CAN ANSWER, OR A COMMISSIONER CAN ASK THE CHAIR TO ADDRESS THE SPEAKER OR THE CHAIR CAN DIRECT STAFF TO ANSWER THE QUESTION.

THE SPEAKERS TIME WILL BE STOPPED WHEN THE COMMISSION IS ANSWERING A QUESTION, COMMISSIONERS WILL BE ABLE TO ASK QUESTIONS THAT ARE WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE PUBLIC TESTIMONY OF A SPECIFIC SPEAKER.

SO WHEN YOU FINISH YOUR TESTIMONY, YOU MIGHT WANT TO STAY AT THE MICROPHONE FOR JUST A SECOND TO SEE IF ANYONE UP HERE TODAY HAS A QUESTION FOR YOU.

AND EVERYONE IS ASKED TO ABIDE BY THESE GUIDELINES SO THAT THE PUBLIC FORUM PROCESS CAN PROCEED SMOOTHLY AND ALL WHO WISH TO SPEAK, HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO.

AND WITH THAT BEING SAID, WHO ARE OUR SPEAKERS THIS AFTERNOON? SO OUR FIRST SPEAKER IS ROY RIVERA.

AND, UH, PLEASE, WHEN YOU COME UP TO THE MICROPHONE STATE WITH DISTRICT YOU LIVE IN, AND IF YOU'RE REPRESENTING ANY ORGANIZATION, ROY, RIGHT, HE WANTS TO GO NEXT.

YES.

ARE YOU NOT READY? YOU'RE NOT READY.

OKAY.

UH, FRANCIS FRANCIS WANT TO SPEAK, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SPEAK, I'M SORRY.

JESSICA.

UM, ONE, ONE SECOND, PATRICIA.

UM, IF YOU WOULDN'T MIND JUST COMING UP TO THE MICROPHONE JUST TO SAY THAT.

SO WE HAVE IT ON RECORD.

I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT.

JUST THAT ONE LINE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

JUST YOUR NAME AND WHAT DISTRICT YOU'RE IN AND YOUR COMMENT.

OKAY.

UM, MY NAME IS FRANCIS I'M.

UM, I'M A RESIDENT FROM DOVE SPRINGS AND, UH, YEAH, DISTRICT TWO.

AND ACTUALLY I'M HAPPY WITH MY DISTRICT.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, MS. .

JESSICA, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SPEAK JUST PLEASE STATE YOUR DISTRICT AND YOUR NAME AND ANY ORGANIZATION? HI COMMISSIONER IS THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SERVICE.

APPRECIATE EVERYTHING YOU'RE DOING THROUGH THIS PROCESS.

AS I'VE BEEN WATCHING

[00:25:01]

THIS, I HAVE TO ADMIT, I HAVE SOME CONCERN ABOUT DISTRICT THREE.

I'M FROM DISTRICT THREE, AND I'M SEEING SOME AREAS THAT ARE TRADITIONALLY A LITTLE MORE OF A CAUCASIAN POPULATION.

AND I'M WORRIED THAT BY ADDING PIECES OF DISTRICT FIVE AND DISTRICT NINE ON THE EAST SIDE OF DISTRICT THREE, THAT IT'S GOING TO DECREASE THE OPPORTUNITY AVAILABLE FOR SOME OF OUR LATINO CANDIDATES.

SO I WAS HOPING THAT THE COMMISSION COULD EXPLAIN A LITTLE BETTER WHY THEY MADE THAT CHOICE TO EXPAND INTO THOSE TWO DISTRICTS.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

AND TELL ME YOUR NAME ONE MORE TIME.

JESSICA COHEN, C O H E N.

GOTCHA.

THANK YOU, MS. COHEN.

UM, SO THE QUESTION IS WHY, UM, AREAS OF DISTRICTS FIVE AND NINE HAVE SHIFTED SIDE OF DISTRICT THREE, RIGHT? GOTCHA.

OKAY.

IS ANYONE, UM, WILLING TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION? UH, I'M SORRY.

I JUST, I REALLY JUST COULDN'T HEAR, UH, WHAT, Y Y WHAT WAS MOVED WHERE MY CONCERN IS THAT BECAUSE THE DISTRICT HAS BEEN PUSHED EAST INTO WHAT IS DISTRICT NINE AND FIVE.

NOW THAT DISTRICT THREE BECOMES LESS OF AN OPPORTUNITY DISTRICT.

UH, GENTRIFICATION RUNNING RAMPANT THROUGH THE EAST SIDE HAS ALREADY DECREASED LATINO POPULATION IN MY DISTRICT.

HOW DOES MOVING THE DISTRICT EASTWARD HELP DISTRICT THREE AND OPPORTUNITY CANDIDATES, VICE CHAIR GONZALEZ, OR, OKAY, SURE.

COMMISSIONER BLINK.

THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

SO AMONG DIFFERENT RACIAL AND ETHNIC GROUPS THROUGHOUT THE CITY, AND PART OF THIS HAS TO DO WITH JUST THE MOVEMENTS OF THE POPULATION THAT YOU'RE SPEAKING OF IN PARTICULAR, THE HISPANIC POPULATION IN THE CITY IS MOVING EASTWARD.

AND SO THEREFORE TO KEEP IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISTRICT REQUIRES US TO MOVE THE DISTRICT EASTWARD.

AND IN FACT, THIS MAP, AND THESE DISTRICTS IN PARTICULAR WERE DESIGNED IN COOPERATION WITH THE NAACP AND A HISPANIC COALITION AND MET THEIR LEVEL OF APPROVAL TO MAKE SURE THAT THESE ARE THE STRONGEST OPPORTUNITY DISTRICTS THAT WE ACTUALLY COULD PROVIDE GIVEN THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE CITY.

SO IT'S NOT, WE'RE NOT MOVING THE DISTRICTS, YOU KNOW, UNAWARE OF THE CHANGE OF THE SHIFTS IN THE POPULATION.

IN FACT, WE'RE VERY, VERY MUCH AWARE OF THE SHIFTS IN THE POPULATION.

AND WHAT WE'VE DONE IS ACTUALLY TO TRY AND MAKE THESE THE STRONGEST OPPORTUNITY DISTRICTS THAT WE COULD.

HMM.

THEN I WOULD ASK, WHAT ABOUT THOSE NEW PIECES THAT ARE COMING IN ON THE WEST SIDE OF IT? THE DISTRICT? UH, I MEAN, AGAIN, I WOULD SAY THAT THIS, THESE WERE ACTUALLY DRAWN TO BE THE STRONGEST OPPORTUNITY DISTRICTS THAT WE COULD ACTUALLY CONSTRUCT WITH THE POPULATION THAT EXISTS IN THE CITY.

THAT'S, THAT'S THE BEST ANSWER I CAN GIVE.

OKAY.

I THINK I'LL FIGURE IT OUT.

NO, THANKS FOR YOUR QUESTION.

YEAH.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, MS. COHEN, SO, RIGHT.

ARE YOU READY? HELLO.

MY NAME IS ROY RIVERA.

I'M FROM A DISTRICT THREE, UM, ON THE EAST SIDE OF A 180 3 AND, UH, VARGAS AREA.

UM, I DO HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS, BUT SEEING AND TAKING IN THEIR INFORMATION, I'VE ALREADY PROVIDED.

IT KIND OF GIVES ME A LITTLE VIEW OF WHERE I NEED TO GO IN SEEKING INFORMATION AND PURSUING MINOR INFORMATION, BECAUSE REALLY, UM, THE ANSWERS I'M LOOKING FOR ARE NOT HERE.

THE ANSWERS ARE MORE IN THE CITY LEVEL AND THE PEOPLE THAT ARE MAKING UP THE, THE BIG RULES, WHERE, WHERE THE PANEL IS FOLLOWING.

AND SO I THINK THAT I, I WOULD PROBABLY LOOK TOWARDS CITY AND, AND, AND COUNTY AND SEE WHAT, WHAT REALLY WHITE THINGS ARE THE WAY THEY ARE.

UM, BECAUSE FAR AS ME BEING ON EDUCATE, I DON'T UNDERSTAND THEM, BUT I'M TRYING TO GET TO UNDERSTAND THEM.

UM, AND FOR WHAT THE LAST SPEAKER WAS ASKING, IT SEEMS LIKE WHEN I LOOK AT, WHEN I LOOK AT THAT, THAT IT IS KIND OF DESIGNED OF MOVING THE HISPANICS EAST AND THEN MOVING THE DISTRICT WEST, IT LOOKS LIKE A DESIGN.

IT LOOKED LIKE THAT WAS WHAT IT WAS INTENDED TO DO.

IT DOESN'T LOOK LIKE IF YOU HAVE A HISPANIC POPULATION

[00:30:01]

IN, IN DISTRICT THREE, AND THEY'RE EITHER MOVING WEST, I MEAN, EAST, THEN IT SHOULD FOLLOW THEM INSTEAD OF GOING THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION, BECAUSE IF IT'S ALREADY CHANGING THE DEMOGRAPHICS, IF YOU GO WEST, IT'S SOLIDIFYING THAT CHANGE.

THAT'S WHAT I SEE.

THANK YOU, MR. RIVA.

AND, UM, I WANT TO ADD IF, IF YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT ANNEXED AREAS, UM, YOU SAID CITY AND COUNTY, I WOULD ALSO SAY, LOOK AT THE STATE LEVEL.

THERE'S AN LUCKILY, WE'RE IN THE CAPITAL OF THE STATES.

SO THERE'S A LOT THAT YOU CAN DO.

AND GOING TO THE CAPITOL AND TALKING WITH REPRESENTATIVES ABOUT THOSE STATE LEVEL LAWS THAT MAKE IT HARDER FOR CITIES TO ANNEX AREAS.

A LOT OF, A LOT OF WHAT WE'RE FOLLOWING NOW, STUFF FROM, FROM A LONG, LONG TIME AGO, WHERE, WHEN IT WAS REALLY BAD AND THOSE THINGS THAT NEEDED TO BE CHANGED TO MAKE EVERYTHING WHAT WE'RE SAYING THAT IS, IT IS HADN'T BEEN CHANGED YET.

WE'RE STILL FOLLOWING ANCIENT, UM, PROCEDURES THAT THEY PUT IN WHEN IT WAS REALLY, UM, SEPARATED IN DISCRIMINATION STUFF GOING ON.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS.

HECK YEAH.

DID YOU WANT TO MAKE A COMMENT OR NO, THAT WAS OUR LAST SPEAKER.

GREAT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, EVERYONE.

UM, I WANT TO SHARE A FEW MORE, UM, PARTING PIECES OF INFORMATION.

SO WE DO HAVE A FEW MORE UPCOMING FORUMS. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS, WE HAVE.

UM, SO WE, WE JUST HAD OUR DOVE SPRINGS, EXCUSE ME, I'M JUST LOOKING AT MY NOTES HERE.

UM, ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH, WE WILL HOLD A VIRTUAL FORUM TO BE MINDFUL OF THOSE WHO CANNOT ATTEND IN PERSON.

UM, SO THAT IS COMING RIGHT UP AROUND THE CORNER.

IF YOU WANT TO INVITE FOLKS TO THAT, THEY JUST HAVE TO REGISTER THROUGH ZOOM AND THEN THEY GET A LINK SENT TO THEIR EMAIL ADDRESS.

UH, THE LAST FORUM IS ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2ND AT TRAVIS COUNTY COMMUNITY CENTER AT OAK HILL.

THAT STARTS AT 11:00 AM AND AS IS REQUIRED BY THE CITY CHARTER.

THE ICRC IS HOLDING A PUBLIC FORUM IN EACH OF THE FOUR TRAVIS COUNTY PRECINCT.

SO THAT'S WHAT WE'VE BEEN DOING RIGHT NOW IS JUST GOING TO THERE'S FOUR PRECINCTS.

WE'VE BEEN IN EACH ONE, UH, BY THE END OF NEXT WEEK, WE WILL HAVE MET THAT GOAL.

UM, AND WE WANT TO JUST BE GEOGRAPHICALLY ACCESSIBLE TO ALL OF AUSTIN, WHICH IS WHY WE'RE KIND OF MOVING AROUND THE CITY IN THAT WAY.

IF YOU WERE TO GO TO A FUTURE FORUM, JUST KNOW THE CONTENT WILL BE THE SAME AS, AS THE PURPOSE, THE INTENTION OF HOLDING THEM.

AND THEN WE WILL HOLD TWO MORE IN-PERSON FORUMS AFTER WE'VE CREATED THE FINAL DRAFT OF THIS MAP.

AND THEN WE'LL ALSO HAVE A VIRTUAL OPTION THEN, AND THAT'S SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO, UM, THROUGH THE MONTH OF OCTOBER.

UM, SO FINALLY, I JUST WANT TO SAY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING OUT THIS AFTERNOON.

IF YOU WANT TO REACH US THIS EMAIL ADDRESS, ICRC DOT COMMISSIONERS AT AUSTIN, TEXAS.GOV.

UM, ANY EMAIL YOU SEND TO THAT ADDRESS GOES TO ALL 14 COMMISSIONERS.

SO THAT'S THE BEST WAY TO REACH US DIRECTLY.

UM, AND I THINK THAT'S IT.

THANK YOU AGAIN, HAVE A GREAT REST OF YOUR WEEKEND.

* This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Speech-to-Text.